Shocking Logo Evolutions of 10 Well-Known Brands

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What better way to evaluate the effectiveness of logos than to examine how they have evolved in successful and age-old companies? We have scouted for some of the most well-known companies in the world and researched how their logos have changed over the years, decades, and even the century. We hope that these will give you some ideas on how companies like these have designed their logo in such a way that people could easily identify with their brand names.


1. Pepsi

Pepsi’s original logo was red script on white. Pepsi introduced a red, white and blue round bottle cap to their design in 1950. They swapped the fancy script for clean black lettering in 1962. The bottlecap stylized into a circle with colored stripes by 1972 and as of 2011, the striped circle stands alone as Pepsi’s logo.

2. Shell

The Shell gas station brand logo started out in 1900 as a literal inked clamshell drawing but has gradually become a smooth red and yellow stylized shell. The colors and shape are so distinct, Shell doesn’t even write its name on the logo anymore.

3. Xerox

The history of Xerox’s logo began in 1937 when the company was known as the Haloid Company. The name was replaced in 1961, following a highly acclaimed copier they developed, the Haloid Xerox 914. Since then, the ‘Xerox’ typeface became the only feature of the logo until 2008. This time, they put in a red ball-like symbol with the white letter ‘X’ painted on it, something that might allow people to recognize the company better.

4. BMW

Everybody knows a BMW automobile when they see one, but most of them have no idea what the logo means. The trademark blue-white BMW logo is meant to symbolize the movement of an aircraft propeller, of white blades cutting through the blue skies. It was first created in 1923, but the logo has pretty much retained its original features other than a few minor modifications to its fonts and colors.

5. IBM

The merging of two companies’ logos (International Time Recording Company and Computing Scale Company) resulted in the first official IBM logo in 1911. It was not until in 1947 that IBM created its well-known typeface logo. After a little modification in 1956, and another final change in 1972, IBM finally settled down with its current blue horizontally-striped logo.

6. Canon

Canon’s first logo was indeed very different from what follows over the years. It was a depiction of the Buddhist’s Goddess of Mercy sitting on a lotus flower, with her thousands of arms and surrounded by flames. The next logo in line only retained its ‘Kwanon’ brand name, using unique typefaces. By 1935, Canon’s logo was changed to that of ‘Canon’. That logo was progressively refined till 1956, when it becomes the logo we see today.

7. Volkswagen

The company was originally founded in 1937 by a Nazi trade union. The car we know as the “Beetle” was actually the brain-child of Adolph Hitler, who wanted to mass-produce a car that everyone in Germany could afford. The original logo was created by Franz Reimspiess–the engineer who perfected the engine for the Beetle in the 1930’s–as part of a company-wide contest. The logo has seen only subtle variations over the years.

8. Apple

The first Apple logo was created in 1976, where it features the famous scene of how Sir Issac Newton discovered gravity – sitting beneath an apple tree. In the same year, the logo was switched to one of a shape of an apple with rainbow stripes. It was then further simplified into a silhouetted apple image consisting of only black. Since the year 2000, the apple logo has been recognized as a monochrome apple.

9. Mercedes

The three-pointed star symbol was only incorporated into Mercedes-Benz’s logo in 1909, after two previous logos. In 1933, a circle was included that enclosed the star. Then, the logo pretty much remained the same as the one we identify today.

10. Windows

In 1992 the Windows 3.1 logo was a literal window with four panes and a black frame that broke into tails on one side like a meteor. It remained the same until Windows XP was released in 2001. The Windows XP logo was minimalized down to just the four colored windowpanes floating with no frame – distinctly Windows, but much simpler.

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